European Union (EU) Ambassador to Pakistan Androulla Kaminara has recognised the critical role of Pakistan in bringing peace in Afghanistan and safe evacuation of its nationals from there.
In an interview with Radio Pakistan, she said over the last few weeks, there had been several meetings between representatives of the EU and individual members of EU states with Pakistani authorities mainly on the situation arising out of Afghanistan.
She appreciated Pakistan’s stance that the government in Kabul must be inclusive and women should also be given representation. The EU ambassador said the bloc had been following the regional developments very closely after the take-over of Kabul by the Taliban, adding that the EU was interested in respect of human rights, inclusive government in Afghanistan and evacuation of EU citizens and Afghan nationals, who wanted to leave the country.
Androulla said the EU had provided 57 million Euros in aid to Afghanistan since the beginning of this year. Besides, the bloc had announced to quadruple this amount and in the last week additional one hundred million Euros were announced for the war-ravaged country.
“We will continue to provide aid to Afghanistan to avert any humanitarian crisis in that country,” the envoy said. However, she ruled out the possibility of recognition of the Taliban government by the EU at this stage.
On the issue of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK), Androulla said the EU had always maintained that human rights had to be adhered to and respected, adding that it had been encouraging both sides to continue efforts to bilaterally solve the issue.
The ambassador stated the EU was very encouraged to see that there were very few violations on the Line of Control as compared to previous years. "It was an encouraging sign that could lead to more understanding from both sides to potentially resolve the conflict," she said, adding, “we are against the violations of human rights anywhere".
She said on an international level, the EU was working with Islamabad on climate change and promoting relevant decisions at the UN system. Within the country, she said, the EU worked on issues of trade and business among others.
Androulla further stated the EU was the number one destination of Pakistani goods due to GSP Plus status accorded to Islamabad, adding that during 2019, Pakistan exported goods worth 7.5 billion Euros to EU markets. She added that the EU had been supporting Pakistan’s Small and Media Enterprises (SMEs) sector to facilitate them in increasing their share of exports.
"We have recently set up EU Pakistan Business Forum for SMEs to help them interact with their counterparts in Europe,“ she maintained.
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